GMRC collected small microscopic organisms known as zooplankton from several lakes in the Matapedia watershed. GMRC Director of Research, Dr Carole-Anne Gillis collected the zooplankton using a fine mesh net. You can not see the zooplankton with the naked eye because it is so small.
The samples were collected from Humqui Lake, Salmon Lake and Matapedia Lake during the middle of September.
“Zooplankton needs to be collected when the lakes are stratified, so before the lake turnover that usually occurs in late fall,” explained Dr. Gillis.
Collecting the zooplankton will help researchers determine if the Atlantic salmon are using the lakes as habitat. “We don’t commonly look for salmon in lakes because we typically look for salmon in rivers,” said Dr Gillis. “There is an increasingly amount of evidence that juvenile Atlantic salmon have been using the lakes in the Matapedia River watershed”.
The sampling of the zooplankton will help determine if the Atlantic salmon diets are reflective of lake habitats or river habitats by looking at the stale isotope signatures. Shortly after collection, the zooplankton samples are frozen and will be delivered to the Stable Isotopes in Nature Laboratory (SINLAB) at the University of New Brunswick where they will be analyzed. Other samples, such as aquatic insects, prey found in rivers, as well as Atlantic salmon muscle tissue will also be analyzed for this study.